Cyprus Mail
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Germany have weaknesses, says N.Ireland coach O’Neill

N. Ireland's manager Martin O'Neill said that Germany has flaws they hope to exploit

Northern Ireland have enough tools to get a result in their final group match against a fallible German team, Northern Ireland’s coach Michael O’Neill said on Monday.

Having already beaten Ukraine after narrowly losing to Poland in their opening game, the unfancied Northern Ireland team could qualify even if they lose to the world champions on Tuesday at the Parc des Princes.

But O’Neil said his team were aiming for more.

“The Germans are a very strong team. We are aware that there are weaknesses in the German team,” he said, highlighting the fact that Poland arguably had the better chances against Joachim Loew’s side.

“We’re a good counter-attacking team. No team is flawless and the Germans have proved they have flaws as well. There are opportunities there for us,” O’Neill said.

The last time Northern Ireland beat Germany — or West Germany as it then was — was 1983 during the golden years of their national side.

But they lost 4-1 in their last meeting, a friendly in 2005.

O’Neill said it was important his team are not flash in the pans, and instead establish a new dynamic after securing their first qualification for an international tournament in 30 years.

O’Neill, lauded for what was deemed a gamble against Ukraine when he made five changes from the side that lost 1-0 to Poland in the opening game, played down his tactical acumen, saying that much of the side had played in the qualifiers.

“Whatever team we play it will be fresh, ready to play and if we make changes they will be well-versed and tactically aware of how to play,” he said.

“What we will bring to the game is an intensity and spirit for however long the game lasts.”

When asked about the prospect of being rewarded for a third-place Group C finish with a possible game against the hosts France, O’Neill said it would be a dream.

“At this minute in time I’m just trying to take the Germans, and then we’ll take the French and the Spanish,” he joked.

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